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Mark Hargreaves and Rodney Snow

Although skeletal muscle is capable of oxidizing selected amino acids, exercise in the fed and carbohydrate-replete condition results in only a small increase in amino acid utilization. Nevertheless, it may be important to increase the dietary protein requirements of active individuals. There is ongoing debate as to whether the amino acids for oxidation are derived from the free amino acid pool, from net protein breakdown, or a combination of both. There has been interest in the potential ergogenic benefits of amino acid ingestion; however, BCAA ingestion does not appear to affect fatigue during prolonged exercise, there is little support from controlled studies to recommend glutamine ingestion for enhanced immune function, and although glutamine stimulates muscle glycogen synthesis, its addition to carbohydrate supplements provides no additional benefit over ingestion of carbohydrate alone.

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Ben Desbrow, Sally Anderson, Jennifer Barrett, Elissa Rao and Mark Hargreaves

The effects of a commercial sports drink on performance in high-intensity cycling was investigated. Nine well-trained subjects were asked to complete a set amount of work as fast as possible (time trial) following 24 h of dietary (subjects were provided with food, energy 57.4 ± 2.4 kcal/kg and carbohydrate 9.1 ± 0.4 g/kg) and exercise control. During exercise, subjects were provided with 14 mL/kg of either 6% carbohydrate-electrolyte (CHO-E) solution or carbohydrate-free placebo (P). Results showed that subjects’ performances did not greatly improve (time, 62:34 ± 6:44 min:sec (CHO-E) vs. 62:40 ± 5:35 min:sec (P); average power output, 283.0 ± 25.0 W (CHO-E) vs. 282.9 ± 29.3 W (P), P > 0.05) while consuming the sports drink. It was concluded that CHO-E consumption throughout a 1-h time trial, following a pre-exercise dietary regimen designed to optimize glucose availability, did not improve time or power output to a greater degree than P in well-trained cyclists.

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Louise M. Burke, Gregory R. Collier and Mark Hargreaves

The glycemic index (GI) provides a way to rank foods rich in carbohydrate (CHO) according to the glucose response following their intake. Consumption of low-GI CHO-rich foods may attenuate the insulin-mediated metabolic disturbances associated with CHO intake in the hours prior to exercise, better maintaining CHO availability. However, there is insufficient evidence that athletes who consume a low-GI CHO-rich meal prior to a prolonged event will gain clear performance benefits. The ingestion of CHO during prolonged exercise promotes CHO availability and enhances endurance and performance, and athletes usually choose CHO-rich foods and drinks of moderate to high GI to achieve this goal. Moderate- and high-GI CHO choices appear to enhance glycogen storage after exercise compared with low-GI CHO-rich foods. However, the reason for this is not clear. A number of attributes of CHO-rich foods may be of value to the athlete including the nutritional value of the food or practical issues such as palatability, portability, cost, gastric comfort, or ease of preparation.